SCESAP Biodiversity Symposium 2015

From July 3rd – 7th, 2015, the Society for Coastal Ecosystem Studies – Asia Pacific (SCESAP) held its biannual symposium in Bangkok. The Symposium theme was “Biodiversity in Asian Coastal Waters: Looking towards the future”, and members of our NRHCP were privileged to attend and speak.

According to their website, “SCESAP, has been established to advance research and education in the science and management of coastal ecosystems and adjacent environments in the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide, through the promotion of effective cooperation and communication among interested individuals and organizations in the Asia (Indo-Malay) Pacific and elsewhere.”

The symposium was hosted this year at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and many accomplished and respected reef mangers and scientists from Thailand and around Asia were in attendance. Chad Scott and Rahul Mehrotra of the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program were also invited to give an oral presentation.

On the second day of the conference, Chad presented some of the long-term reef monitoring data and findings that the NHRCP has been collecting since 2007, entitled “Changes in Hard Coral Abundance and Community Composition in Response to Multiple Threat Factors on Koh Tao, 2006-2014.” The presentation focused on the change in coral coverage on the island from 2006-2015, comparing that to the trends observed from data taken in the decade prior to 2006. The presentation highlighted many of the most relevant threats to coral reef health on Koh Tao, and also explained how these threats are changing the species composition of corals on our reefs.

Rahul presented about his work on sea slugs, which has been on-going since 2012. His presentation detailed many of the new and exciting species of sea slugs being found around Koh Tao, and also discussed the wider implications of their biodiversity. His presentation was full of amazing photos and fun facts like only Rahul can deliver.

Both Rahul’s and Chad’s presentations will be published as symposium papers later in the year. The symposium was a great way to meet up with some of our local coral reef heroes again, and listen to some great talks about the work being done and knowledge being added to around the Asia Pacific region. It was also nice to see that our publications and programs from the NHRCP were mentioned in other people’s talks as well, meaning that our work is having a wider impact then we sometimes remember.

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